Prince William meets NBA legend Yao Ming and Bear Grylls in London

Well, that's certainly a tall order! Prince William found everything looking up in the literal sense as he met 7ft 6in tall NBA legend Yao Ming at King's College in London. The British royal was speaking to the former Houston Rockets player as he prepared to deliver a speech on wildlife conservation – a passion William and Shanghai-born Yao share – which will broadcast on Chinese television.

The Prince and the NBA star share an interest in wildlife conservation Photo: Getty Images

During his speech at the event – which also included star guests like Running Wild adventurer Bear Grylls – the future King made the point that his daughter Princess Charlotte will be only 25 when the last wild elephants and rhinos are killed by poachers.

He began by saying: “I know this topic is sensitive for many families. For example, until 100 years ago my ancestors were among those who had little concern about acquiring ivory, without the knowledge of the threats of extinction, corruption, and violence that the ivory trade would lead to.

Prince William made his anti-poaching speech, to be broadcast on Chinese television, at King's College Photo: Getty Images

"My rejection of ivory today is not a judgement of past generations. It is an acceptance of the world as I find it today and the world I want my children, George and Charlotte, to inherit.”

Watched by 80 students and the VIP guests William continued: “Last year in South Africa, three rhinos were killed every single day. In the 33 years since I was born we have lost around 70 percent of Africa’s elephant population.

The royal also met Running Wild adventurer Bear Grylls Photo: Getty Images

“Of those that are left, 20,000 are being killed every year – that is 54 elephants killed every single day. At this rate, children born this year – like my daughter Charlotte – will see the last wild elephants and rhinos die before their 25th birthdays.”

William's speech follows a similar plea during his tour of China and Japan earlier this year. It is timed to coincide with a state visit to Britain by the country's President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan, who are staying in Buckingham Palace.

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